New York's First Cannabis Dispensaries Will Be Reserved For Former Drug Offenders
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New York's First Cannabis Dispensaries Will Be Reserved For Former Drug Offenders

Some states are becoming more and more liberal with laws around cannabis and its use. New York is leveling up that liberalism by offering a sense of justice to those who were once convicted on marijuana charges before the state legalized it. Now, the melodic tunes of Rick James proclaiming his love of “Mary Jane” can ring clear for thousands of individuals.

In the new policy, individuals with previous marijuana charges will be the first to be able to hold a retail license to sell recreational cannabis in New York.

A New Day In New York

If a big corporation or even a major influencer wants to open a dispensary in New York, they must wait in a long line to make it happen. Based on a report by Bloomberg, the Office of Cannabis Management is still determining the specific regulations for those who do not have former convictions for receiving a retail license.

In a recent vote, barriers for entrepreneurs seeking to enter the marijuana industry were cleared, and they can begin submitting their license applications as early as August. Formerly incarcerated individuals and their relatives can potentially qualify under the new regulations if their guilty conviction happened before March 31, 2021. However, the one caveat — they must have experience owning and operating a successful business in the state.

A Sense Of Justice

While the nuance of having a “successful” business experience can be considered questionable, New York sees the new policy as a way to right wrongs and provide a sense of equity in underrepresented communities and among people who were targeted most by laws surrounding the issue.

The newly adopted policy will go into effect on Aug. 3, 2022. The Office of Cannabis Management anticipates awarding up to 200 retail licenses for potential cannabis retail operations. These awarded licenses cannot be transferred to another party for four years.